Top Ten Web Application Vulnerabilities in J2EE. Vincent Partington and Eelco Klaver Xebia

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1 Top Ten Web Application Vulnerabilities in J2EE Vincent Partington and Eelco Klaver Xebia

2 Introduction Open Web Application Security Project is an open project aimed at identifying and preventing causes for unsecure software. OWASP identified the ten most experienced vulnerabilities in web applicaties. This presentation describes these vulnerabilities: Own experiences or publicly known examples. Description of the problem. How to prevent these flaws in J2EE applications? Target audience: J2EE developers and architects.

3 Input Web application To backends Output Platform Application Server OS Network

4 #1: Unvalidated Input - Experience Intented: /ImageServlet?url= But also possible: /ImageServlet?url= /ImageServlet?url=file:///etc/passwd With this simple application port scan were indirectly possible.

5 #1: Unvalidated Input - Description Attacker can tamper with any part of HTTP request url, querystring, headers, cookies, form fields, hidden fields Common input tampering attacks include: forced browsing, command insertion, cross site scripting, buffer overflows, format string attacks, SQL injection, cookie poisoning, hidden field manipulation. Possible causes Input is only validated at the client Filtering without canonicalization Opens the door to other vulnerabilities

6 #1: Unvalidated Input - Description Easier than you might imagine with LiveHTTPHeaders

7 #1: Unvalidated Input - Measures All input should be validated at server with central library: Request parameters, cookies, headers Parameters should be validated against positive specs: Data type (string, integer, real, etc ) Minimum and maximum length Whether null is allowed Whether the parameter is required or not Numeric range Specific patterns (regular expressions) Perform code review Don t misuse hidden fields Store in session or retrieve values with each request

8 #2: Buffer Overflows Hm, this one sounds familiar; not only in web applications. Description More input feeded in application than what fits in its buffer, causing malicious code to be executed. This shouldn t be a problem in Java, should it? Measures OutOfMemoryError Backend systems Native code Avoid using native code

9 Input Web application To backends Output Platform Application Server OS Network

10 #3: Injection Flaws - Experiences LoginModule used following SQL query: "SELECT * FROM users WHERE user = '" + username + "' AND password = '" + hashedpassword + "'" Can easily be cracked by: username: <any existing username>' OR 'a' = 'a password: any password that passes validation rules Results in the following String: SELECT * FROM users WHERE user = 'admin' OR 'a' = 'a' AND password = secret'

11 #3: Injection Flaws - Description Anywhere an interpreter is used: Script languages such as Perl, Python and JavaScript. Shells for executing applications like sendmail (e.g. ; rm -r ). Calls to the operating system via system calls. Database systems: SQL injection (e.g. 1=1). Path traversal (e.g.../../etc/passwd). Typical dangers: Runtime.exec() String concatenated SQL File in- and output streams

12 #3: Injection Flaws - Measures Avoid accessing external interpreters wherever possible, use language specific libraries instead: Avoid Runtime.exec(), send mail via JavaMail API. Encode values before sending to backends: Single quotes in SQL statements. Comma's, parenthesis, etc. in LDAP statements. Even better: always use JDBC PreparedStatements. Run application with limited privileges. All output, return codes and error codes from the call should be checked.

13 Input Web application To backends Output Platform Application Server OS Network

14 #4: Cross Site Scripting (XSS) - Example Website of online bank showed value in request parameter literally in the browser. In a tricked URL a piece of javascript was inserted in the page that showed a fake page: "><script language=javascript src=" /sun/sun.js"> </script>

15 #4: Cross Site Scripting (XSS) - Description Attacker sends malicious code to end-user s browser Output is sent to browser without validation Browser trusts the code. Malicious script can Access any cookies, session tokens, or other sensitive information retained by your browser. Rewrite the content of the HTML page. Two categories Stored, e.g. database, message forum, visitor log. Reflected, e.g. error message, search result via mail. Examples Session hijacking Phishing

16 #4: Cross Site Scripting (XSS) - Measures Input validation Encode all output (HTMLEncode or JSTL c:out): < < > > ( ( ) ) # # & & Truncate input to reasonable length. If your application needs to show HTML that has been entered by a user, you could filter all <SCRIPT> tags, but

17 #5: Improper Error Handling - Example With wrong username, the following message was shown: With a wrong password, the following message was shown:

18 #5: Improper Error Handling - Description Error messages can reveal implementation details that should never be revealed giving a hacker clues on potential flaws. Examples Stack traces, database dumps, error codes. JSP compilation errors containing paths. Inconsistent error messages (e.g. access denied v.s. not found). Errors causing server to crash (denial of service). Incorrectly encoded wrong input can cause XSS attack.

19 #5: Improper Error Handling - Measures Define a clear and consistent error handling mechanism Short meaningful error message to the user (e.g. with error id). Log any information for the system administrator (could refer to error id). No useful information to an attacker (don t show stack trace or exception message. Both visible and hidden!). When error displays wrong input, encode this to prevent XSS attacks. Precompile all JSPs before deployment to production. Modify default error pages (404, 401, etc.). Perform code review.

20 Input Web application To backends Output Platform Application Server OS Network

21 #6: Broken Access Control - Example Website of Christine le Duc didn t have access control on the page for showing an order: a link in a newsarticle on NU.nl lead to an open order. Order id s were easy to guess. Orders could even be updated.

22 #6: Broken Access Control - Description Content or functions are not effectively secured for authorized people only. Examples: Insecure Id s Forced browsing past access control checks Path traversal File permissions Client side caching Possible causes: Authentication is only performed at first screen. Authorization is only done on URL, not on content. Home-grown decentralized authorization schemes.

23 #6: Broken Access Control - Measures Check access at every request, not only when getting the first request. Don t implement your own access control, use J2EE CMS or some other framework like Acegi. Declarative instead of programmatic. Centralized access control. N.B.: J2EE Web security by default allows access to all URL s. Optionally extend with instance-based access control. HTTP headers and meta tags to prevent caching. Use OS security to prevent access to server files.

24 #7: Broken Authentication and Session Management - Experience Application with own login mechanism for the administrative pages. Didn t use a session cookie, but encoded username and password in de URL: 0c6ccf51b817885e&username= ea80882d This URL could easily be captured with a XSS attack.

25 #7: Broken Authentication and Session Management - Description Weak authentication and session management. Examples: Easily guessable usernames and passwords. Flawed credential management functions, such as password change, forgot my password and account update. Shoulder surfing. Hijack an active session, assuming identity of user. HTTP is stateless, so no standard session management: URL rewriting with JSessionID (Session) cookies

26 #7: Broken Authentication and Session Management - Measures Use strong authentication mechanisms: Password policies (strength, use, change control, storage). Secure transport (SSL). Carefully implement forgotten password functionality. Remove default usernames. Problems with session mechanisms: Session cookie must be secure. Session IDs should not be guessable. Don t implement your own mechanism, but use what is provided by your application server.

27 Input Web application To backends Output Platform Application Server OS Network

28 #8: Insecure Storage - Experience Daily backups were stored on a portable harddisk that was safely stored by the administrator at home. The data was not encrypted; after a burglary or loss all data would be on the street.

29 #8: Insecure Storage - Description Sensitive data should be stored in a secure way. Examples: Failure to encrypt critical data Insecure storage of keys, certificates, and passwords Poor sources of randomness Poor choice of algorithm Attempting to invent a new encryption algorithm Failure to include support for encryption key changes and other required maintenance procedures

30 #8: Insecure Storage - Measures Only store information that is absolutely necessary Request users to re-enter each time. Store a hash value instead of encrypted value. Don t allow any direct channels to the backend: No direct access to database or files. Don t store data in files in the document root of your web server. Don t implement your own encryption algorithm, but use JCE (Java Cryptography Extension). Store public and private keys safely in keystores.

31 #9: Insecure Configuration Management - Description Your web application runs in an environment that should be configured securily: Application server and web server. Backend systems, like database-, directory- and mail servers. Operating system and network infrastructure. Most common vulnerabilities: Unpatched versions with known security flaws. Unnecessary default, backup, or sample files Open administrative services. Default accounts with default passwords. Misconfigured SSL certificates Gap between developers and administrators.

32 #9: Insecure Configuration Management - Measures Create hardening guideline for each server configuration Configuring all security mechanisms Turning off all unused services Setting up roles, permissions, and accounts, including disabling all default accounts or changing their passwords Logging and alerts (Semi) automatic configuration process. Using tools like Ant and Ghost. Stay up to date: Monitor and apply latest security vulnerabilities published Update security configuration guideline Regular vulnerability scanning from both internal and external perspectives

33 #10: Denial of Service - Experience Application retrieved a lot of information from backend content management systems. One request on the front-end resulted in three requests at the same back-end.

34 #10: Denial of Service - Description Web applications are susceptible to a denial of service, because it is hard to detect the difference between ordinary traffic and an attack. Easy to generate a lot of load. Examples: Limited resources can easily be the target: bandwidth, database connections, disk storage, CPU, Memory, Threads. Also limited to a particular user, e.g. user lockout or change password. Unhandled exceptions.

35 #10: Denial of Service - Measures Avoid requests that result on heavy system load: CPU: heavy queries, JDBC connections. Memory disk space: large POST or HttpSession data. Definitely for anonymous users. Test your application under heavy load. Make use of caching to restrict database access. Think carefully about lockout or password change mechanisms.

36 Bonus Input Web application To backends Output Platform Application Server OS Network

37 #11: Cross-site Request Forgery - Example Orkut is a website for managing networks of friends and colleagues, like LinkedIn. A lot of actions in Orkut take place by clicking on icons with URLs like: Opening this URL by an authenticated person is possible through a XSS attack, but also with hidden IFRAME, etc. Result: a lot of friends in a short time.

38 #11: Cross-site Request Forgery - Description Name looks like Cross-Site Scripting, but totally different: XSS misuses the trust of the user in a web application. CSRF misuses the trust of the web application in the user. Forging the enactor and making a request appear to come from a trusted site user Sometimes called session riding. Examples Trick a user into making a request by placing a link in an image tag. Accept user input from trusted and authenticated users yet do not verify the location from which the data is coming.

39 #11: Cross-site Request Forgery - Measures Use GET for queries: Easy to bookmark for later. Can be sent via to a colleague or friend. Use POST for updates: Can t be bookmarked or sent be . Can t be reloaded accidentally. More difficult with XSS attack. Some frameworks support this difference: Struts not by default. Spring Web MVC supports it: SimpleFormController, WebContentInterceptor. Use a timestamp and encryption in own links.

40 Conclusion An overview of the most common vulnerabilities, but only the minimum. Look further than the symptoms. Security should be an integral part of your development: Requirements Design Code Test Most important secure coding principles: Never trust input from the user. Never present more information than necessary. Test how your application performs under heavy load.

41 More information OWASP top ten: Cross-site Request Forgery: W3C advisory about GET vs. POST: George Guninski: Xebia:

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